Part 4) Follow: Life of Obedience
“The call of Jesus is the call to come and die” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
- Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
- Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
- List out all that you are grateful for.
Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:
Bible Text: Luke 9:23-27; 57-62
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” […]
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Context & Commentary
v.59 To bury a deceased parent was, of course, an important duty. However, the man’s response did not mean his father had just passed away; rather, it was a figure of speech for “allow me to fulfill all my family obligations first (until my father has passed away), and then I will follow you.”
v.60 By telling the man to let the (spiritually) dead bury their own (physically) dead, Jesus makes clear that following and serving God is more important than even fulfilling the highest family obligation. This does not mean Jesus’ followers can never care for their families, but when they do, it must be out of obedience to Jesus, not instead of obedience to Jesus.
v.62 Anyone plowing while looking backward will quickly veer off course. Following Jesus requires total devotion and focus, and not allowing even the good things in life to distract us.
ESV Study Bible. English Standard Version, Crossway, 2011. Holy Bible.
- What is the picture of following Jesus that we get in these verses? How does this compare with common views of what a normal Christian life should look like?
- How is it true that “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for [Jesus’] sake will save it”? How have I personally experienced this or witnessed this in the life of others?
- How am I personally challenged by these passages?